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  • The Smashwords Style Guide By Mark Coker rev 9.19.10 Copyright Mark Coker 2008-2010 Smashwords Edition License Notes: This free ebook may be copied, distributed, reposted, reprinted and shared, provided it appears in its entirety without alteration, and the reader is not charged to access it. Cover design by PJ Lyon Also by Mark Coker, Published at Smashwords: Smashwords Book Marketing Guide Boob Tube Smashwords Style Guide Table of ContentsINTRODUCTIONAbout this guideBefore you begin What Smashwords publishes, what we don’t publish Five common formatting mistakes to avoid How Smashwords publishes books How Smashwords distributes books How ebook formatting is different from print formatting How we convert your book into multiple ebook formats The three secrets to ebook formatting How to avoid (and fix) AutoVetter errors Frequently Asked Questions Introduction to Meatgrinder conversion system Your required source file Understanding the different ebook formatsFORMATTING
  • Formatting your work (the fun stuff!!!) Making Word behave Normalize the text (Change everything to Normal paragraph style) Purging old or corrupted formatting + The Nuclear Option Managing and modifying paragraph styles First line indent, or block paragraphs? (choose one only) How to choose the right paragraph separation method Why you should never use tabs or the space bar for indents Working with images Add the Heading style to your Chapter headers Create a linked Table of ContentsFront Matter Blurbs Title and copyright page Adding the Smashwords License StatementThe end of your bookPOST-FORMATTINGPreparing your cover imagePremium Distribution requirementsAfter the formatting is complete, Publish! How to upload your book How AutoVetter works After you publish: Check Your WorkHow to market your bookSend feedbackHelpful resourcesKeyboard shortcutsAbout the authorINTRODUCTIONBack to topAbout this Guide:This guide helps Smashwords authors and publishers format their ebooks for Smashwords. Don’tupload your books to Smashwords until you have carefully read and implemented therecommendations in this Guide.The Style Guide is written for non-techies. It presents simple, step by step tips to help you formatyour ebook for the best possible presentation across all ebook formats and devices. It’s requiredreading if you want your ebook accepted into the Smashwords Premium Catalog for distributionto major online ebook retailers such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel and Amazon.If you don’t have the patience, time or skills to properly format your masterpiece per theserequirements, consider hiring someone. Several Smashwords authors have volunteered toprovide low-cost Smashwords Style Guide formatting services for around $25/hr and up. If you
  • would like a reference (we don’t earn a referral fee), contact me, Mark Coker for my private list.Please note: if you utilize one of these formatting providers, remember you’re hiring them, notSmashwords. By using them you will not receive any preferential customer support or fast-tracking for the Premium Catalog.Below are two examples of well-formatted Smashwords books. You can download the free RTFwhich you can open and view in your word processor. 1. Jigglers by Gerald Weinberg - http://www.smashwords.com/books/download/22171/3/386145/jigglers-aremac-a- century-later.rtf 2. The Unsuspecting Mage: The Morcyth Saga Book One by Brian S. Pratt - https://www.smashwords.com/books/download/1444/3/null/0/0/the-unsuspecting-mage- the-morcyth-saga-book-one.rtfThis Smashwords Style Guide is a living document. As you learn formatting tips not presented inthis guide, please forward them to Mark Coker at first initial second initial at smashwords dotcom.What Smashwords Publishes, What We Don’t PublishSmashwords publishes only original and legal works, direct from the author or the exclusivedigital publisher. We do not publish public domain books unless you are the original author. Wealso don’t publish incomplete or partial books, or books that appear elsewhere on the Internetunder other authors’ names, as is common with Private Label Rights scams. If you write erotica,all your characters should be adults. And finally, we strongly discourage any book that advocatesget-rich-quick “systems” for making money on the Internet. Smashwords is a serious publishingservice for serious writers only.Five Common Formatting Mistakes to Avoid:1. Improper Indents - Don’t use tabs or space bar spaces for paragraph indents (instead, codeyour paragraph style to define a special first line paragraph indent: see step 7b-a below)2. Repeating Paragraph Returns - Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns toarrange text on the page (this creates blank ebook pages on small-screened e-reading devices)3. Improper Paragraph Separation - Paragraphs require either first line paragraph indents orthe block paragraph method. Otherwise your paragraphs run together and become unreadable.Use one or the other (indents are best for fiction and much non-fiction, blocks are usually only fornon-fiction), but don’t use both. If you’re aiming for the block style, do not add paragraphreturns between paragraphs on empty lines (to create the blank line). Instead, modify yourparagraph style to add 6 pt trailing space at the end of the paragraph.4. Font and Style Mistakes - Don’t use fancy non-standard fonts, colored fonts (colors oftendisappear on some e-reading devices), kerning, large font sizes over 16pt, and don’t go overboardwith multiple paragraph styles (makes your ebook look ugly, and compounds odds of unexpectedproblems)
  • 5. Copyright Page Mistakes - Don’t forget to include the required “front matter” (required foracceptance into the Premium Catalog), described in tip 21b below.How Smashwords Publishes Books:After you carefully implement the formatting instructions in this Guide, your book is ready toupload and publish to Smashwords. Simply click “Publish” from any Smashwords web page andfollow the instructions to upload your book.Smashwords takes your original Microsoft Word source file, usually in .doc format, and convertsit into multiple ebook formats such as .EPUB, PDF. .RTF, .PDB, .MOBI, LRF and TXT, as wellas into online HTML and Javascript formats. By publishing in multiple formats, your book willbe readable on any e-reading device, including the Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad, personalcomputer, the iPhone (via the popular Stanza e-reader app), Sony Reader, Kobo Reader, Androidsmart phone, etc.From the Publish screen, you can designate a percentage of your book that you want to makeavailable as a free sample. Most authors choose between 15-30%. If you don’t make a freesample available, your book will not be distributed to some important outlets.How Smashwords Distributes Books:Smashwords distributes your book via two primary mechanisms:1. Standard Catalog: This catalog contains all the books for sale at Smashwords.com. Sampledistributors include Stanza on the iPhone, which is used by over 4 million people to discover andpurchase ebooks; and Aldiko, an e-reading app for Google Android devices; and Word-Player,another e-reading app for Android devices. To qualify for distribution on Smashwords.com and inthe Standard feed, an author or publisher is simply required to abide by the Smashwords Terms ofService and follow the instructions in this Guide.2. Premium Catalog: This catalog is distributed to major online retailers and other distributionoutlets. There’s no cost for inclusion, but your book must satisfy higher mechanical standardsrequired by the retailers such as having a quality book cover image, good formatting, a propercopyright page, and other requirements clearly outlined in this Style Guide and on ourDistribution page at http://www.smashwords.com/distribution. If youre a serious author orpublisher, you want your books included in Smashwords Premium Catalog because it offersyour book unprecedented exposure at no cost.How Ebook Formatting is Different from Print FormattingEbooks are different from print books, so do not attempt to make your ebook look like an exactfacsimile of print book, otherwise you’ll only frustrate yourself by creating a poorly formatted,unreadable ebook.With print, you control the layout. The words appear on the printed page exactly where you wantthem to appear.
  • With ebooks, there is no “page.” By giving up the control of the printed page, you and yourreaders gain much more in return.Page numbers are irrelevant. Your book will look different on every e-reading device. Your textwill shape shift and reflow. Most e-reading devices and e-reading applications allow your readerto customize the fonts, font sizes and line spacing. Your customers will modify how your booklooks on-screen to suit their personal reading preference and environment.By transforming your books into digital form, you open up exciting possibilities for how readerscan enjoy them.At Smashwords, our motto is “your book, your way,” and this means a reader should be able toconsume your book however works best for them, even if that means they like to read 18 pointHelvetica with blue fonts, lime background color, and triple spaced lines. Many e-reading devicesand e-reading apps support some or all of these strange different tastes.In order for us to prepare your words to be stirred up and reconstituted in this digital soup, it’simportant your Smashwords source file is formatted to liberate the words in digital form.The book’s formatting will be and must be different from its paper-based formatting and layout(for some works like poetry, the formatting is integral to the reading experience, and we can workwith that too).Most readers want your words, not your fancy page layout or exotic type styles. This isespecially important for your ebook customers, because you want your work to display well on asmany digital reading devices as possible so the reader can have their book their way. Some ofyour buyers may want to read on the Amazon Kindle, others may prefer to read on the iPhone orSony Reader, or even read on multiple devices. Others may want to just read it on screen usingone of the several e-reading applications, such as Adobe Digital Editions or FBReader.How We Convert Your Book into Multiple Ebook FormatsThis Style Guide helps authors and publishers tweak their original source files to obtain the bestpossible reading experience across multiple ebook formats and e-reading devices.Print publishing companies spend millions of dollars each year to convert their print books intodigital formats. It’s a tough job, and often these conversions involve hiring hundreds of overseascubicle laborers who painstakingly re-key and reformat texts into different formats.At Smashwords, we operate differently. Our Meatgrinder technology automates the process.Because our process is automated, the book you publish on Smashwords may not be formatted asperfectly (or imperfectly - sometimes Meatgrinder actually improves the formatting) as youformatted it in your manuscript.There are pros and cons to such automated conversions.The advantage of this automation, especially if you carefully format your book to the StyleGuide, is that Meatgrinder will allow you to instantly publish a good-quality, multi-format ebook,ready to be enjoyed on any e-reading device. This automation also allows us to offer thisconversion and publishing service at no cost to you.
  • Meatgrinder does well with straight-form narrative, so we excel at fiction, narrative non-fiction,poetry and other books that are mostly words. Luckily, straight narrative comprises probably75% of all books purchased by readers, and for most of the other 25%, with some proper tweaksand yes, compromises, flexibility and patience, many of these books can work as well.Smashwords supports charts and images, but here we lack the precision of print on paper. Withsome Smashwords formats, page breaks will appear where you don’t expect them. Images maynot appear in the exact position you intended, or the print-quality image that looks great on glossypaper may not look so great on a black and white e-reading device, or a small cell phone. In otherwords, unpredictable things will happen. With patience, experimentation and an open mind, youcan make it work. Remember, good quality is the goal, not perfection.Some format outputs have limitations. For example, a picture book or manga that’s all images isimpossible to convert into plain text (it wouldn’t be a picture book anymore!). Other books maylook great in .RTF or PDF, but not so great on one of our online readers.Meatgrinder has other limitations. It doesn’t support tables or columns. It doesn’t take fulladvantage of some of the capabilities of formats such as EPUB and .MOBI. We’re aware of thelimitations, and you should be too.In the meantime, the benefits of such minor compromises outweigh the downside. By giving up alittle, you gain a lot by making your book accessible to millions of potential readers across ourever-growing distribution network.Some folks who read the paragraphs above come to the conclusion that Smashwords wants aplain text book without formatting. Not true! As you read on, you’ll discover that Smashwordsstill gives you great control over formatting and styles.We care about quality, and you should too. If you ever hear an author or reader complain thattheir Smashwords book looked like [insert your favorite expletive], it means the author didn’tfollow the Style Guide. Take the time to follow the guide. You’ve invested years – possiblyeven a lifetime – to write your masterpiece, so take 30 minutes or an hour to study the Guide andlearn how easy it is to create a good-looking multi-format ebook you and your readers will beproud of.The Three Secrets to Ebook Formatting: Keep it Simple, Keep it Simple, Keep it Simple!The secret to ebook formatting success is “Keep it Simple!” Unnecessarily complex formattingor layout will hinder the readability of your ebook. If you attempt to make your ebook an exactfacsimile of your print book, you will cause yourself and your readers unnecessary frustration. Itmay also cause your ebook conversions to fail.Re-envision your book as free flowing text with only the essential formatting. Restrict yourformatting to Normal paragraph style for the bulk of your book, one paragraph return at the endof each paragraph, proper first line paragraph indents (see tips below on how to create), italics,bolds, a Heading style only for your chapter headings, and very few if any additional paragraphstyles beyond that.Simple doesn’t mean you can’t use formatting, or you can’t use styles. It just means that if yourcurrent formatting includes 15 or 30 different custom paragraph styles, you’re asking for trouble.
  • How to Avoid AutoVetter Errors:AutoVetter is Smashwords’ automated technology that inspects your book the moment youpublish it and provides you instant feedback on potential formatting problems. You’ll find yourerrors documented in the Dashboard after you publish, underneath the “Premium Status” column.If the link reads, “requires modification,” click the link.AutoVetter is your friend.If you receive AutoVetter errors, fix them immediately. Otherwise, the errors will delay orprevent your book’s acceptance into the Smashwords Premium Catalog. The moment AutoVettertells you about the errors, you can fix them and then upload a new version via your Dashboard’s“upload new version” link.The following errors may prevent your book from gaining inclusion in the PremiumCatalog:- more than 4 consecutive paragraph returns in a row (creates blank ebook pages)- tabs (eliminate all tabs, which you created by hitting the “Tab” key)- extra paragraph returns between paragraphs in an attempt to create a blank line- exotic fonts (instead, stick with Times New Roman, Garamond and Arial)- large font sizes (14pt is a recommended maximum, 11 or 12pt is better)- indents made with space bar spaces or tabs (the most common bad habit of all authors)- text in columns (we don’t support columns)- text in tables (ebooks don’t handle tables. Import tables as images)- text in text boxes (Ugh, the horror!)- multiple text or paragraph styles for your body (for example, don’t mix Normal style with BodyText style)- automatic footnotes (not supported, may cause the conversion to fail)- text wrapped around floating images (instead, right mouse click on image, click FormatPicture: Advanced: Align with Text, then use Word’s center button to center)- and finally, to avoid the copyright error, carefully follow tip 21b below
  • Frequently Asked Questions:Q. Can you show me an example of a well-formatted book?Yes! Check out Gerald Weinberg’s Jigglers, which is a good formatting example.Q: How long will it take for me to format my book for Smashwords?This depends on your knowledge of Microsoft Word. The average author, if they take the time tocarefully study and implement the Style Guide, can successfully complete their formatting inunder two hours. Most Smashwords experts can complete a book in under one hour. Novels areeasiest. If you decide to skip the Style Guide because you already have decades of experience inpublishing, then you’ll frustrate yourself and waste time. People with decades of print publishingexperience tend to have the most trouble with Smashwords formatting, probably becauseSmashwords was created by someone (me!) without publishing experience who decided to createa faster, simpler approach to ebook publishing. Don’t be discouraged by the length of this Guide.It has a lot of pictures to help guide even computer novices down the path to formatting success,and it’ll save you money in the process. We created Smashwords so you shouldn’t have to payanyone a penny to publish with us. If you don’t have the time, skills, or patience to follow theinstructions, and you’d rather hire someone to help you, ask me for a referral to a low costformatter on my private list (fellow Smashwords authors), who for probably $30 to $75 canprobably make your life simpler and help you get in the Premium Catalog faster.Q: Can you share time-saving tips?Yes! You’ve already taken the first step, which is to read this Style Guide. It will save you a lotof time, prevent frustration and help you get your book distributed more quickly. Next, jumpdown to my Keyboard Shortcuts if you want a quick refresher on some keyboard tricks that willsave you time and reduce errors. Next, take a look at the sample files above. Next, use MicrosoftWord. Although many Smashwords authors use other word processors, it’s more difficult to doso because these other programs have a habit of introducing hidden anomalies into your file.Q: What types of books work best on Smashwords?Straight form narrative (all fiction and some non-fiction), biographies, memoirs, poetry, essays,narrative-heavy non-fiction, scripts, screenplays and plays. Yes, the book can contain images.Follow the instructions below.Q: How many books will I sell?
  • Any book, ebook or print, is difficult to sell. Some Smashwords authors haven’t sold a singlebook. Others have sold thousands. The latter group is not the norm, so you should keep yoursales expectations modest. Read the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide to understand what wedo to help you sell your book, and what you must do for yourself. You are responsible forwriting a book that resonates with readers, and for marketing that book. Our responsibility is tohelp you get your book published and distributed. Approximately 80 percent of your sales willcome from Smashwords’ rapidly expanding network of ebook retailers, thus the urgency for youto follow the Style Guide so we can quickly distribute your book. All your sales originating atSmashwords.com, our small retail operation, will be reported instantly to you. Sales reportingfrom our retail partners is time-delayed. Learn more about how Smashwords royalties arecalculated and paid by reading our Royalty FAQ.Q: What types of books are most difficult to format for Smashwords?The most challenging books at Smashwords include coffee table photo books, and books wherethe words are part of the image. If complex layout is essential to the enjoyment of your book,you’ll need to reformat it to achieve readability as an ebook. Restrict formatting to paragraphreturns at the end of every paragraph, indents, headings, and a little bold or italicized text here orthere. With some special care, you can modify most types of books to work fairly well onSmashwords. If you cannot separate the complex formatting and layout from the content of yourbook, then consider restricting your ebook output formats on Smashwords to only PDF and RTF,because these formats will most closely match the form of your original Word file. The downsideof restricting your book to PDF and RTF, however, is that you’ll reduce the potential readershipfor book because EPUB is the most commonly distributed format at Smashwords.Q: Can I upload a work in progress?No. Smashwords is only for books that are complete and ready for public consumption.Q: Can I upload only a sample chapter or two?No. We only publish complete books. If your story doesn’t represent a complete readingexperience, you can’t publish it at Smashwords, because our customers expect a complete story.However, when you upload your complete book, you can designate a certain percentage of thebook, starting from the beginning, that you make available as a free sample.Q: Can I upload public domain books?Only if you are the original author.Q: Can I upload “Private Label Rights” articles to Smashwords?No, never. If you do this, we will delete your account without warning and you will forfeit allearnings.Q: Do I put my book cover in the manuscript file?Our EPUB and MOBI formats will automatically insert the cover image into your ebook file,though our PDF and RTFs will not. If you want the image in all formats, import it into the top ofyour Word file. Meatgrinder is programmed to strip the duplicate from its EPUB and MOBIversions, but if it misses the extra image, it’s not the end of the world.Q: Do you edit my book prior to publishing?
  • No. It is your responsibility to upload a completed, professionally written, edited and proofreadbook. Although Smashwords makes it easy to publish, your potential readers expect you toproduce a quality, well-written professional work.Q: How important is it that my book has been proofread and copy edited?Extremely important! Don’t publish your book at Smashwords until it has been thoroughlyproofread for grammar, spelling and typos. One of the biggest criticisms leveled against self-published authors is that their work is not professional quality. Don’t perpetuate this stereotype.Take pride in your work and invest the necessary effort to have others proofread and copyedityour book prior to publishing it on Smashwords or anywhere else. Your readers will thank youand your book will be more successful.Q: Will Smashwords format my book to make it look perfect?No. If we did that, our service would not be free. Our technology is completely automated. Allfile conversions are automated by our Meatgrinder file conversion system.Q: Does Smashwords provide professional formatting and text design services?No. Smashwords does not provide paid services of any kind. This guide provides guidance onhow to prepare your book for quality ebook conversion through Meatgrinder. If you decide yourequire assistance, email me for my private list of fellow Smashwords authors who provide lowcost formatting and cover design.Q: I’ve already formatted my book perfectly into separate versions for PDF, Mobi andothers. Can’t I just upload my books and bypass the Meatgrinder?No, sorry, we don’t accept this, and for good reason. It’s important that books come to us in acommon format so we can ensure the files are virus-free, free of DRM, and free of strangepermutations that could cause unexpected problems for our customers. One of our retailers,Sony, requires us to create a specially modified EPUB file for them, so this is another benefit ofhaving Smashwords perform your conversion. We also need the file as a Word document so wecan reliably convert it into all the different formats, as well as future formats. But don’t fret; afteryou read this guide you’ll realize it’s easy to format your book for Smashwords! If you only haveyour manuscript in PDF form, read the section below, entitled, “Your Source File,” for tips onhow to get your PDF back into Word format.Q: Will Smashwords one day allow authors and publishers to replace Smashwords-generated files with files generated by the author or publisher?Eventually, yes. In the past, we’ve referred to this as the Meatgrinder Bypass. It’s a plannedfeature, but the implementation of this feature has been delayed in favor of focusing on higherpriority projects such as building out our distribution channels. The current thinking is that thisfeature will be rolled up in a new future service called Smashwords Direct.Q: Can I use “drop caps” at the beginning of a paragraph or chapter?A drop cap is the large initial capped letter you may see in the first paragraph of a chapter in aprint book. A drop cap usually extends down three or four lines. You cannot use drop caps inSmashwords, so eliminate all usage of them. Some authors will make the first letter of the firstparagraph of a chapter a larger font size, and bold. This is a great, attractive alternative.
  • Q: Will my finished Smashwords digital book look like my original print manuscript?Often, it will look different. Don’t try to make your ebook look like an exact carbon copy of yourprint book. Such an objective is ill-conceived. Ebooks are different from print books. If youcarefully follow the Style Guide, you’ll get good results.Q: I don’t use Microsoft Word. Can I still publish on Smashwords?Yes, though Microsoft Word is your best option. If you want to ensure the best results for yourebook, and you don’t use Microsoft Word, consider investing in a copy. You can usually find itfor around $150 or less. Word will give you the greatest control over your formatting byallowing you to follow the Smashwords Style Guide. If your time is valuable to you, and youplan to publish multiple ebooks with Smashwords, Word is a good investment.If your word processing software allows you to save a file as a Microsoft Word .doc file, then itmight work for you. There are numerous free Word processors that emulate Microsoft Word orwill convert files into Microsoft Word format. One free option popular with many Smashwordsauthors is Open Office (http://www.openoffice.org/), which is available for the PC, Mac andother platforms. You can also use Apple Pages to output a Word .doc file. We do notrecommend WordPerfect because it caused our authors headaches, which causes us headaches(see next question).Q. I use WordPerfect. Can I save my manuscript as a Word .doc or .RTF and upload it?Smashwords authors who try to convert their WordPerfect files into Microsoft Word .doc formatare often frustrated beyond belief. Based on our experience, WordPerfect does not reliablyexport to Word .doc and RTF. It inserts tabs instead of proper first line paragraph indents, and itintroduces corrupted data and strange control characters. If you use WordPerfect, we recommendsaving your file as plain text, and then reopening it in Microsoft Word. Next, follow therecommendations in this Style Guide.Q. Is there a maximum size file I can upload?Yes. The source file you upload must be smaller than 5 megabytes. If your file is larger, itusually means it contains large images, or multiple images. Ask yourself if the images are reallynecessary. If you’re using images for chapter headings or similar artistic flourishes, for example,remove them and replace them with text. For essential images, reduce the file sizes (see the nexttip for how to do this).Q. How do I reduce the file size of my images?First, if your file is an RTF, save it as a Word .doc. Word .doc files handle images much moreefficiently. If you’re using Microsoft Word 2003 or later, Word has a GREAT feature that willcompress your images without visibly harming quality. Just right mouse click on any image inthe document, select format picture, then under the picture tab in the lower left hand corner youllsee a link for "compress". This will compress many images 80% or more without any visible lossof quality. You can also use a photo editing tool such as Photoshop, or a free utility such asPicasa by Google at http://picasa.google.com/. Please note: It doesn’t impact the file size toclick the corner of an image and drag it inward.Q. What’s the best way to format poetry?
  • For best results, present your poetry left justified, or, if it’s meant to be centered, centered. Don’tuse indents to arrange the text on the page, because the indents could cause your poems to appeartoo far to the right of the screen (or worse, word-wrapped) on small-screened devices. This iswhy we suggest left justified.Q. [Advanced] How do I eliminate Word’s Indexing Field Codes?Smashwords does not support indexing, so if your source document uses Word’s field code forindexed words or phrases, you’ll want to eliminate the field codes before you upload toSmashwords. The field codes become visible when you activate Word’s “show/hide” command(as we mention below, you NEED to activate “show/hide” to expose your hidden formatting).Although you could strip them out manually, it would take hours and will introduce errors.Here’s a quick tip that takes only seconds: See our Keyboard Shortcuts section learn how to useWord’s “Find and Replace” feature (type CTRL+H) and then in the find field enter ^d xe ^? andleave the ‘replace with’ field empty. Then click ‘replace all’. Below is an image of what theindexing field codes look like.Introduction to MeatgrinderWe affectionately call our file conversion system Meatgrinder. In the last two years, we havecontinually enhanced it to produce high quality ebooks. The most recent upgrade was August2010, where we made a series of great improvements to our EPUB and MOBI files.Your source file, a Microsoft Word .doc document, goes in one end of the Meatgrinder andcomes out the other end as multiple DRM-free digital book files for use on a multitude of e-reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble nook, Sony Reader, iPhone, iPodTouch, Apple iPad, a computer screen or virtually any other e-reading device.
  • If you ignore the formatting requirements of the Smashwords Style Guide, Meatgrinder will turnyour book into hamburger. Please follow the instructions!Your Required Source FileThe file you upload into the Meatgrinder should be a Microsoft .doc file (the default). If you’re ascreenwriter, scriptwriter and playwright and you work in a program called Final Draft, save yourdocument as an RTF file (however, you will need to manually correct the margins), and thenopen it in Word, save it as a Word .doc, and clean up from there.PDF Source Files (Not allowed): You cannot upload a source file as a PDF. If you only haveyour book in PDF form, here’s a free online service that will convert your PDF into a Word doc:http://www.pdftoword.com/ You upload your PDF to them and then they email it to you as aWord file. But be warned, the output it gives you will *not* be ready to publish on Smashwords.You will still need to perform clean-up. To save time, you’re better off contacting whoeverconverted your original manuscript into PDF and ask them to forward you the original source file,saved as either a Word .doc or .RTF file.If You Only Have a Print Book: Many authors only have print copies of their books. How doyou bring your book to life as an ebook? It’s easier than you might think. Consider this coolservice called Blue Leaf Book Scanning, which uses optical character recognition technology toconvert your book back into digital form. For around $25.00, they will scan your print book andsend it to you as a Microsoft Word file. I’ve seen the raw files they produce, and they’reremarkably accurate. However, the service is not infallible. The Word file they send you willstill require careful proofing, editing and reformatting. http://www.blueleaf-book-scanning.com/book_scanning_service_order.htmlInDesign Source Files: InDesign is a common layout application used by professionalpublishers. Smashwords does not accept InDesign files. However, from InDesign, you canexport your book to .RTF format. Once it’s in RTF format, you can reopen the file in Microsoft
  • Word, save it as a Word .doc, and then remove all the garbage introduced by InDesign (you’llhave tabs in random places, and other ugly formatting). The fastest way to clean up an RTF fromInDesign (or any file, for that matter) is to use what I call the Nuclear Method. With theNuclear Method, you open your file in Word, copy and paste it into Windows Notepad (or someother simple text editor that strips out all formatting), close Microsoft Word, then reopen Word toa fresh new Word document, then copy and paste the book from Notepad back into Word, andthen carefully re-apply the minimal necessary formatting by following the Style Guide.HTML Source Files: We previously allowed HTML file uploads, but now we no longer allowthem because most HTML files provided to us contained serious corruption as defined by theWC3 HTML Validator at http://validator.w3.org/check and as a result didn’t upload properly. Ifyou only have your source file as an HTML file, follow these instructions: 1. Open the HTMLdocument in a browser. 2. Copy and paste the entire document into a new Word doc by clicking"Edit: paste special" within the Word menu, then selecting "unformatted text" as the output. 3.From here, youll find that youve got a consistent number of spaces, such as four spaces, makingup your indents. This wont work, so do a CTRL+H (press the CTRL key and the H key at thesame time) search and replace and search for ^p space space space space (a paragraph returnfollowed by four taps on the space bar) and replace with only ^p. This will eliminate the leadingspaces at the beginning of each paragraph. 4. Next, CTRL+A the document, right mouse click,click paragraph, and then under “special” do a first line paragraph indent of .25”. 5. Next, cleanup the remaining minor issues, like manually removing the indents from your title and copyrightpages, and, using Word’s center button, center those sections.Understanding the Different Ebook FormatsOne of the important benefits of Smashwords is that we take your single file and convert it intomultiple ebook formats. Why is this so important to the success of your book? Becausecustomers read on many different devices, and the more formats you offer, the more books you’llsell. In early January 2010, we did a survey of the most popular ebook formats for Smashwordscustomers. The results were interesting. Although PDF is the most popular ebook format, twothirds of customers preferred formats other than PDF. You can read the survey yourself at http://blog.smashwords.com/2010/02/most-popular-ebook-formats-revealed.html.You should publish your book into as many digital formats as possible (even if certain formatstranslate less well than others) because this expands your potential audience of readers. Reviewthe outputs of each format for acceptability after you publish.Here’s a summary of the formats offered: EPUB - This is your most important format! EPUB is an open industry ebook format.This is the format we distribute to Apple, Barnes&Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel eBooks, and others.If your book is available in epub, it can be read on the most popular ebook readers and ebookreading software applications (Like Stanza on the iPhone or Aldiko on Android devices), and willgain the widest distribution via Smashwords’ distribution outlets (EPUB is a requirement forinclusion in Smashwords’ Premium Catalog, and it’s what we distribute to every retailer exceptAmazon).Mobipocket (Kindle) – Mobipocket, A.K.A. MOBI, allows your books to be read on theAmazon Kindle, so this is an important format for you. Mobipocket is supported on many
  • handheld devices and e-reading applications. Mobipocket is a requirement for distribution toAmazon.Palm Doc (PDB) - PalmDoc is a format primarily used on Palm Pilot devices, but softwarereaders are available for PalmOS, Symbian OS, Windows Mobile Pocket PC/Smartphone,desktop Windows, and Macintosh. Be sure to turn off “smart quotes” in your source file,otherwise they may appear garbled in your PDB file. Our PDB is little more than ugly plain text.PDF - Portable Document Format, or PDF, is a file format readable by most devices, includinghandheld e-readers, PDAs, and personal computers. It’s a good format if your work containscomplex layout, charts or images. Odds are, if your work looks good in Microsoft Word it willlook good in PDF. PDF is also a good option for readers who may want to print out your book ontheir home computers. On the negative side, PDF is a rigid, inflexible format because it’s notreflowable, so it’s horrible for reading novels. Your customers can’t easily change the font sizeor style to match their preferences, the text isn’t reflowable, and the reader is forced to read pageby page.LRF - This is the old format for the Sony Reader. Sony has shifted to the EPUB format, so LRFis less important than it once was.RTF - Rich Text Format, or RTF, is a cross-platform document format supported by many wordprocessors and devices. It’s usually pretty good at preserving the original formatting from Worddocuments.Plain Text - Plain text is the most widely supported file format. It works on nearly all readersand devices. It lacks formatting, but will work anywhere. For best results with plain text, yoursource document should not contain images or fancy formatting.HTML SmashReader – This is our online reader that allows customers to sample or read yourbook from their web browser. Your sample pages will be indexed by Google, which will increasethe ability for potential customers to find your book, even if they didn’t know your book is whatthey were looking for. Think of it as serendipity on steroids. If your book looks good in ourHTML reader, it will probably also look good in EPUB and MOBI. Linked tables of contents(ToCs) don’t work in the HTML reader.Javascript SmashReader - This online reader isn’t indexable by search engines like the HTMLreader, but it does allow your readers to customize their reading experience. They can increase ordecrease the fonts, change the line spacing, change the font, change the font color or thebackground color. Our Javascript Reader has always been a bit buggy, so if you see strangecharacters along the top of the page, ignore them. Linked ToCs don’t work here.More options coming - In the future, we’ll add support for other formats based on authorrequests. If there’s a particular format you want, drop us a note. *** ~~~ ***FORMATTINGBack to top
  • Formatting Your Work, Making Microsoft Word BehaveBefore you upload your book to Smashwords, follow the steps below to ensure proper formattingof your book. The first steps focus on making Word behave.A note about all the different versions of Word: You can use any version of Microsoft Word,even the old versions like Word 2000 (my personal favorite), Word 2003 (I like this one too),Word 2007 (Ugh, steep learning curve, but it’s growing on me), and the newer ones. Luckily,although the user interface changes (tell me, Microsoft, why do you make Word more difficult touse with every version?), the inner guts of Word are remarkably similar across all versions. If,for religious reasons you’re hesitant to use Microsoft Word, please reconsider. If you plan topublish frequently with Smashwords, it’s a smart investment because you’ll gain better controlover your ebook’s formatting and you’ll save yourself time. If you’re stubborn and want to useOpen Office (a good free word processor popular with many Smashwords authors) or ApplePages (also popular), you can still use the Style Guide if you’re careful to implement the intent ofthe instructions, though you should understand up front that your book may not come out as youintended.Step 1: This goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t make the formattingmodifications below on your original document. Instead, open your final manuscript withinMicrosoft Word, and create a copy of it by going to File: Save As: and then enter a new filename, such as MySmashwordsMasterpiece, and save as a .doc file (the default). This way, if youmake any mistakes as you follow my advice you won’t screw up your original. Also make sureyou’ve turned off Word’s “Track Changes” feature, also known as “markup mode.”Step 2: *Important* Activate Word’s Show/Hide Do this now, BEFORE you startformatting, otherwise you might as well blindfold your eyes. This is one of my favorite editingfeatures in Word. The show/hide feature is designated by the “¶” mark in the toolbar (I’vealways thought of it as the “reverse P thingy,” but for you typography purists out there, you knowit as a “pilcrow.”), as shown below. The show/hide button helps you view the guts of your formattingWhen clicked, it exposes your paragraph returns, extra spaces, tabs, field codes or strangeformatting. It’s a great tool to help polish your document for the cleanest possible conversions. Ifit’s not in your toolbar, you can usually find it in Tools: Options: View and then underFormatting Marks click All.
  • Step 3: *Important* Turn off Words AutoCorrect: AutoFormat As You Type andAutoFormat features (see screen shot below). I’ve always found these to be Word’s mostannoying features. If you have them engaged, Word will try to guess what type of formatting youwant based on how you write the paragraph, how you manually format the paragraph, or by howyou formatted something before it. If you upload a Word file to Smashwords with paragraphsformatted inconsistently, like some paragraphs formatted as “Body Text” and others formatted as“Normal Text,” the book will look horrible as an ebook. To turn off the features, in Word 2000& 2003, go to “Tools”: “Autocorrect,” then click on the “Auto Format As You Type” tab andthen uncheck most of the boxes, and then click on the “AutoFormat” tab and uncheck the fourboxes under “Apply.”The reason we want to turn off these autoformatting options is because later in the Style Guide,you’re going to try to simplify and normalize your text to prepare it for conversion. If you don’tturn off autoformatting, Word will cheerfully and automatically mess things up again as youmake the corrections below. To access the same screen in Word 2007, click on the round Microsoft Office button(upper left) then click Word Options, then click Proofing, then click the button at right forAutocorrect Options. See the screen shot below, which is similar for most versions of Word.Step 4. Eliminate “text boxes.” To learn if you have text boxes, from your Word menu chooseView: Print Layout, then simply click on your pages and if the shaded dashy lines appear aroundyour text, that’s a text box. Text boxes will corrupt your ebook conversions by inserting a
  • paragraph return at the end of every line. Be sure to check your headers and footers, becauseyou’ll often find text boxes hiding there, surrounding paragraph returns, or surrounding the auto-page-numbering. Remove them. We have seen instances where a simple auto-page-numberingtextbox in the header will cause some file conversions to become corrupted.Here’s a screenshot:The easiest shortcut to eliminate the text box is to save your document as plain text (.txt), thenclose the document, then re-open it in Microsoft Word, then reformat the book per therecommendations in this Guide and then save your document as a .doc file. Another option iscalled the Nuclear Option, mentioned above, and described in greater detail in the next sectionbelow.If you already know your formatting is screwed up, or if your manuscript originated from a PDFfile, or if it has touched multiple word processors over the years, it’s not a bad idea to pursue theNuclear Option now, because it gives you a fresh clean document. As you’ll see later when Idiscuss the topic of EPUBCHECK (an industry-standard validation your EPUB must pass inorder for us to ship your book to Apple), the Nuclear Option is the last-resort solution to fix filesthat can’t pass EPUBCHECK. If you do it now, you won’t have to do it later.Step 5. Normalize the Text In your raw Microsoft Word document, you probably have amishmash of conflicting and inconsistent paragraph styles. You might have Normal paragraphstyle, or other paragraph styles such as Body Text, Plain Text, or multiple Heading styles. Youprobably don’t even know you’ve got these styles (often because of Word’s annoying habitmentioned above in Step 3 of changing your formatting to what Word thinks you want, ratherthan what you really want).CHANGE EVERYTHING TO NORMAL PARAGRAPH STYLE: If you change your entirebook the Normal paragraph style, right now, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and headache (youcan add other styles back in later) and you’ll get a cleaner conversion. ***~~~***Here’s quick sneak peek flash forward of where I’m taking you: You’ll change everything toNormal paragraph style, then you’ll modify Normal to define what you want it to define based onwhether you want first line indents or the block method, then you’ll judiciously add in additionalparagraph styles if necessary (such as maybe the Heading style for chapter headings), then you’lladd your bold and italics, then you’ll do clean up and then you’re done.
  • ***~~~***If you ignore the Normalization step, then you’ll receive complaints from customers that yourfont size and font style changes erratically from one paragraph to the next. Such inconsistentstyle usage can also prevent you from gaining access to the Premium Catalog, or, if yourinconsistent styling slips past our reviewers, retailers will reject your book for the same reason.To unify your text around the Normal paragraph style, in Microsoft Word press CTRL+A (pressthe CTRL key at the same time you press the “A” key, or choose Edit: Select All from the menu)to highlight all your text, and then select "Normal" from your option bar up above. This willallow you to standardize on a single font, single font size, the same line spacing, and the sametext justification (we recommend left justified, a.k.a. “ragged right” by its detractors). Note thatdepending on your formatting, when you change the text to Normal you may lose someformatting (what was centered previously may become left justified or your italics may disappear,for example, as well as other changes, so be sure to carefully re-apply necessary elements later). In Word 2007, if youre trying to make the pull down box pictured above appear in yourWord 2007 menu, click the round Office button upper left, then click Word Options, then clickCustomize, then scroll down the left column and click "style," then click "Add" in the middlecolumn and that will put in on your menu bar. Or, you can access via Step 7 below.Although we recommend changing everything to Normal paragraph style at this step, you can stilladd additional styles later (in fact, we recommend you add additional styles later).Step 6. Purge Old or Corrupted Formatting: If your book has been touched by multiple Wordprocessors, or contains dozens of custom paragraph styles introduced during the process to formatit for print, you might want to purge all the formatting so you can start fresh. From the mainWord 2003 menu, click Format: Styles and Formatting: and then select “Clear Formatting”from the menu at right. This will help put everything into Normal paragraph style. Warning:Any purge will cause bolds and italics to disappear.***************Step 6a: THE NUCLEAR OPTION (HOW TO REALLY PURGE EVERYTHING):If you’ve already tried uploading your file to Smashwords and it’s failing its conversions, or thefinished outputs contain multiple font sizes and styles (in other words, it looks uglier than sin),then you should consider what we call the Nuclear Option. Some experienced Smashwordsformatters prefer to start with the Nuclear Option, because it helps guarantee a clean file. Othersturn to the Nuclear Option because their Word document is corrupted.First, make a backup of your manuscript and set it aside in case the Nuclear Option fails you.Next, copy and paste your entire manuscript into Windows Notepad (usually found in Programs:Accessories) or any other text editor. This will strip out all your formatting. Close MicrosoftWord. Then reopen Microsoft Word so it’s showing a fresh empty document. Next, in Notepad,type CTRL+A (press the CTRL key, hold it down, then press the A key at the same time) for
  • “select all” then CTRL+C for “copy,” then paste into the empty Word document using eitherCTRL+V (for paste) or Edit: Paste (in Word 2000 and 2003) or Home: Paste (Word 2007). Fromhere, reformat the book per the Style Guide.***************Step 7. Managing and Modifying paragraph Styles. Check your document’s style. Justbecause your book on screen looks like it has a font of Times New Roman, the book may appearin some of the Smashwords formats as Courier or some other font (this happened to me with myown book, Boob Tube). How does this happen? The answer is in Word’s default styles. If Wordthinks your default font style for the “Normal” paragraph style is 11pt Courier, even if yourdocument is saved as 12pt Times New Roman, the book it passes on to Meatgrinder will be 11ptCourier.To prevent this from happening, and to ensure you pass to Smashwords what you intend to pass,follow these instructions: Within Word, click Format: Style, then on the left click “Normal” ifit isn’t already highlighted. In the center pane of the window, under “character preview,” Wordwill show you sample text and tell you the default font style for “Normal” text. If it’s what youwant, then close the window. However, if it’s different (as it was in my case when I uploaded mynovel), then click Format: Font: and then select the font and font size you want. Werecommend Times New Roman. Don’t use exotic fonts because they will not translate well, andthey could even cause your conversions to fail. If you’re using Word 2007, click the Home tab, then click the little arrow under “ChangeStyle” (see image below), then hover your mouse over the style and it’ll display its primaryproperties. If you want to change the properties, click the down arrow of the Normal style andclick Modify.7a. Choose a Paragraph Separation Method: First Line Indent or Block MethodIts important you provide your readers visual cues to separate one paragraph from the next,otherwise paragraphs blend together and create a horrible reading experience. For the body ofyour book (everything after the title and copyright page), either use first line indents at thebeginning of a paragraph, or use the block paragraph method. Don’t use both.This Style Guide uses the block paragraph method, which is common for some non-fiction. Thefirst line paragraph indent method is best for fiction.Don’t mix the two methods in the body of your book. For reference, pick up virtually any printednovel. Novels almost always use first line indented paragraphs, with no separation between one
  • paragraph and the next. One paragraph ends on one line, then the next paragraph begins on thenext line.The image below further illustrates the difference between block and first line indent:First line paragraph indents are preferable for fiction and also work well with a lot of narrativenon-fiction. Block paragraphs work well for other non-fiction, especially if you’re managingmultiple sections, or the layout is more complicated. DO NOT USE both first line indents and theblock style. Use one or the other only. Yes, I know I’m repeating myself here (it’s one of themost common errors our authors make).Also, avoid separating blocks of paragraphs using a paragraph return on an empty line. Instead,modify your paragraph style to define a trailing space. The next few sections below, along withtheir accompanying images, will help you learn how to modify your paragraph style to define atrailing space after each block paragraph7b. How to Implement your Chosen Paragraph Separation Method (First Line Indent orBlock). If you use Word 2000 or 2003, click Modify: Format: Paragraph, and then view the
  • contents (see example below). Make sure the numbers under both left and right “indentation” areset to 0”. For Word 2007, click the Home tab, then click the little arrow, as shown in Step 7 above,then click the down arrow for Normal style (assuming you’re using the Normal style for yourbody, as we recommend), then click Modify, then click Format in the lower left corner, thenclick Paragraph.7b-a. HOW TO DEFINE A PROPER FIRST LINE INDENT: Once you’re at the screen tomodify your paragraph style (this screen is essentially the same for all versions of Word), you candefine a first line paragraph indent for the body of your book by selecting Special: First line: By:[enter .25 or .3 inch. Don’t do indents greater than .5 inch]. Make sure the Spacing section,marked by the red oval below, doesn’t define a Before or After space. They should be set to 0pt.Once your settings match the image below, click OK then Apply.After you apply first line indents to the entire document, review your document to clean up anyanomalies. If you apply the indent to the entire book, be sure to go back to your title andcopyright page and remove the first line indents and then center the text for a good-lookingtitle/copyright page. You may also need to manually remove the first line indent from otherparagraphs or lines that don’t need them, such as chapter headings.
  • 7b-b. HOW TO DEFINE TRAILING SPACE FOR BLOCK PARAGRAPH METHOD:Under “Spacing,” set the “after” spacing to 6pt or 10pt. For plays, scripts and screenplays, 4pt ispretty good. We generally don’t recommend less than 4pt or more than 10pt. Then click OK andthen APPLY (or, OK for Word 2007)7b-c. SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR POETRY (AND SOME NON FICTIONCOOKBOOKS AND LEARNING MATERIALS)As we mention elsewhere in this guide, we recommend you don’t use paragraph returns on emptylines to create separation between two paragraphs. However, this isn’t a hard and fast universalrule, and there are times when exceptions make sense. For example, poetry has some specialrequirements. With poetry, you want your stanzas tight, yet you need each poem separate fromthe next. If you code your Normal paragraph style to define a trailing “after” space, the poemwon’t look right.Other content categories that might benefit from this exception include learning materials, such asthe multiple choice example below, or cookbooks.
  • For poetry and non-fiction that require this more complex layout, below are two options for yourconsideration (IMPORTANT: You need to have Word’s Show/Hide feature activated so you canimplement this formatting):1. You can use paragraph returns (dont code them for trailing space).The poem above uses simple paragraph returns at the end of each line, with the paragraph stylecoded for no trailing space.2. Use manual line feeds plus a paragraph return coded for a trailing "after" space. This option isa little more complicated, but will get you great results. To create a manual line feed, click Shiftand Enter at the same time. A manual line feed creates a line break without invoking the stylingof your paragraph style, which in the example below is coded for a trailing 10pt space after eachparagraph return. Note how only the question and the last answer have their lines terminated witha paragraph return (created by hitting the Enter key). Use this trick for poetry as well.7b-d. HOW TO DEFINE PROPER LINE SPACING: See how the line spacing in the imageabove in 7b-b is set to single and the “At:” field is blank? This is good. Line spacing of 1.5 isalso acceptable. Don’t set it to double (will make your book look ugly), and never set it to read“Exactly” or “At Least” followed by a point size specification under the “At:” box. This usuallyrenders your book unreadable because it can cause lines to overlap on top of one another. Theerror is most commonly introduced when you use a word processor other than Microsoft Word(such as Open Office). More on the next item below on line spacing error.AVOID THIS COMMON LINE SPACING ERROR: The image below shows an example ofa common line spacing error that will cause your sentences to overlap and become unreadable.Whether you use the first line indent method or the block method, make sure the “Line Spacing”is set to “Single” or “1.5” and under the “At:” heading it should remains blank. As I mentionedin the paragraph above, NEVER NEVER allow any entry into the “At:” field, otherwise yourbook may become unreadable in the HTML reader and in the EPUB. If this error slips throughour review process, retailers will remove your book when their customers complain. To
  • determine if this error might be affecting your document, right mouse click on any paragraph,click Paragraph, and then you’ll see the box below.Step 8. Reformat the Normalized Text: After you have successfully changed everything toNormal paragraph style above, and you coded your Normal paragraph style for either first lineindent or block, youll need to go through and re-check the formatting. Some items may haveshifted because of the steps above. Bolds may disappear, centered items may become leftjustified, font sizes may have changed, and spaces between paragraphs may have disappeared.Just go back and fix, but make sure everything is Normal paragraph style and make the font sizes,line spacing and text justification consistent. If you find you change the text and suddenly Wordlabels it something other than Normal style, then it means you didn’t successfully disable Word’snasty auto-format features above in Step 3.Step 9. IMPORTANT: Never Use Tabs or the Space Bar to Create Indented Paragraphs.An indent is the space in front of the first line of every paragraph. As I mentioned earlier in this
  • Guide, indents serve as an important visual cue to help guide the reader’s eye from one paragraphto the next. If you use tabs (created by hitting the Tab key) or space bar spaces (created by hittingyour space bar) instead of a proper first line indent, you’ll generate an AutoVetter error and ourHTML and Javascript online readers will automatically remove the leading spaces or tabs fromyour text, thereby causing the indent to disappear. To create a proper first line indent, follow thesection above on How to Create a First Line Paragraph Indent. NEVER NEVER use tabs orspace bar spaces. Always make sure you have “show/hide” activated, per instructions above,otherwise you won’t see these tabs and spaces. The image below will help you spot them. ----------------------------------- -----------------------------------How to automate the removal of tabs and spaces - If you try to manually remove, one by one,the tabs and space bar spaces that comprise your improper indents, it can take hours. Luckily,Word’s search-and-replace feature takes mere seconds (see image below). If you used tabs, pressCTRL+H (hold down the CTRL key and the H key at the same time) to "find and replace,” orfrom the menu select Edit: Replace. Then for the “find what” line enter ^t (the “caret t” is thesymbol for tab) and then in the Replace space dont enter anything (If instead of tabs you havemultiple spaces, then determine the number of spaces you use, then click your mouse to the “findwhat” field, and hit your space bar by the same number of spaces you’re currently (improperly)using for your indents, and then hit “replace all”).
  • To eliminate all your tabs, enter ^t in “find what” and in the “replace with” line, leave it blank.Then click the “Replace All” button.Step 10. Paragraph Returns. Make sure you only have paragraph returns at the end of aparagraph, not at the end of each sentence or every line (unless of course you’re doing poetry). Aparagraph return, created by hitting the “Enter” key on your keyboard, tells the reading device it’sthe end of the paragraph. They look like this: “¶” To view the location of your paragraphreturns, activate Word’s Show/Hide feature, covered in Step 2. If you do not have the show/hidefeature activated now, stop what you’re doing and activate it, because without show/hide, you’reediting blind.Do not use multiple consecutive paragraph returns to force page breaks or to arrange text on thescreen, because they’ll create a poor reading experience by creating blank pages or unsightly gapsin small-screened e-reading devices. They will also disqualify your book from distribution in thePremium Catalog. Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns at a time to arrangetext on the page.Step 11. Hyperlinks. Hyperlinks can point outside your book, like to a web address, or insideyour book, using the bookmark feature (more on this later when I show you how to create ahyperlinked Table of Contents!). Web addresses become clickable hyperlinks in the HTML andJavascript readers. Use external-pointing hyperlinks judiciously. Short attention spans arecommon on the Internet, so if you give your reader too many chances to read something else,
  • you’ll lose them. Even if the hyperlink isn’t live in one of the other ebook formats, the readerwill still have the information they need to visit your resource.To place a proper hyperlink, highlight the text you want to hyperlink, then right mouse click onthe highlighted text, then click hyperlink, then enter a full web address such ashttp://www.smashwords.com. Be sure to include the http:// portion, otherwise your hyperlinkwon’t work and it’ll cause errors in EPUBCHECK (more on that later). After you add a link,click on it to test it.NO AFFILIATE LINKS: If your hyperlinks link to affiliate marketing pages (common in “getrich quick” books), we will delete your account without warning because this is a violation of ourTerms of Service.Step 12. Designating Chapter Breaks, Page Breaks and Section Breaks. If you insert pagebreaks into your Word document (Insert: Break: [choose one]), the PDF and .RTF versions willhonor them, but these commands will be lost in most other formats, which strip page breaks andsection breaks. Loss of page breaks is okay in an ebook, because you can’t predict the font sizeor screen size the reader is using, and you want to have continuous reflowable text anyway. Theworst thing that will happen is paragraphs may become artificially close or too separated.If you use page breaks, be sure to enter a paragraph return or two before and after the break sothat if your manually-inserted break disappears in some formats, your paragraphs don’t smashtogether.Remove all section breaks from your document. For some reason, they create unnecessary blankspace in your ebook.If you want to separate chapters, insert a consistent number of paragraph returns (maybe three orfour), or use a combination of a couple paragraph returns, followed by centered text characterssuch as “~~~~” or “* * * *” followed by a couple more paragraph returns and possibly chapterheadings if you have them. Do not use solid separator bars.The general rule for formatting is “simpler is better.” DO NOT use a long series (more thanfour) paragraph returns anywhere in your book to try to arrange words on a page, or to designatepage breaks, because not only will this cause your book to be rejected from the Premium Catalog,it’ll also create a lot of awful looking blank space in your ebook. Many ebook reading devicessuch as the Kindle and iPad will add extra padding after each paragraph return, so if you addmultiple paragraph returns this can create excessive spacing between paragraphs.Step 13. Working with Images. If you have images, they should be embedded in your Wordfile, usually via the Insert: Picture: File option. If the images are critical to your book, thenwhen you publish your book uncheck the checkbox ebook format option for “Plain Text” becausephotos and charts don’t translate into plain text. If the images are a nice-to-have but not a need-to-have, then go ahead and allow the Plain Text option.Do not use floating images (if you can click on the image and drag it, it’s floating) because yourimage may appear in unpredictable places after the conversion. To fix floating images, rightmouse click on the image, then click Format Picture, then click Layout, then click In LineWith Text, then click save, then click Word’s center button.
  • Open Office users only: Open Office users often have trouble with images, because OO defaultsto floating. If you’re an Open Office user, try entering a paragraph return on a blank line whereyou want the image to appear, and then click in front of the paragraph return and go to Insert:Picture: From File, then select the image to import it, then right mouse click on the image inOpen Office, then select Anchor: As Character, then click your mouse to the right of the image,then click OO’s center button to center the image.We’ve also found that images work best if you keep them small. If your current image runs thelength of a 6 inch wide page, it may not display properly on the smaller screens of some ereadingdevices. Restrict images to widths of 500 pixels or less. Before you import images into yourmanuscript, use a photo editing tool such as Photoshop or a free utility such as Picasa by Googleat http://picasa.google.com, to reduce the dimensions and file size. If you insert an image thatreaches beyond the left or right perimeter of your page margins, it may cause some of yourconversions to fail.If you want a page break inserted before an image, try clicking on the image and coding it as aHeading style. This should insert a page break in EPUB.If you try to upload a 15 megabyte manuscript to Smashwords because you didn’t reduce theimage sizes, Meatgrinder will reject your book. See the Q&A section earlier in this guide for tipson how to compress your image sizes.Step 14. Text Justification. I’ve found that text converts most cleanly if it’s all left justified.Centered text works well, especially for your title and copyright page. I don’t recommend usingWord’s “Justify” command, which attempts to spread your words evenly from margin to marginwithout leaving spaces at the end of each line. The PDF conversion can sometimes look odd forjustified text. If you love justified text, then go ahead and try it - the results may still beacceptable to you.Step 14a. Centering Tip. You may notice that even after you use Word’s button to center text,such as the title and copyright page, or ***” separators, the RTF conversion doesn’t preserve thecentering. Here’s how to force it to stick: Try creating a new paragraph style, based on Normal,that defines centering. That’s how Gerald Weinberg and Brian S. Pratt [the two formattingexamples above] managed to keep their title pages centered).Step 15. Different Font Sizes. Minimize font size variation in your book, otherwise your bookwill look ugly. Some of the best-looking books on Smashwords use 12pt for the body and 14ptfor the book title on the cover page, and for headings. If you must use different font sizes,minimize the range of their variance. For example, if you normal body text is 12 point, don’t usea 20 point header. We recommend you keep your largest font size to 14. Dramatic variations infont sizes can cause unwelcome glitches in some of the conversions, such as causing the largepoint text to bleed onto the smaller point text. Most of our ebook formats support multiple fontsizes, but our Javascript online reader makes everything the same font size (though it has othergreat online reading qualities so you’ll want to offer it to your readers).Step 16. Style Formatting and Symbols. Italics, underlines, and strikethroughs work well.Some symbols (such as é î ® © Ω ∑) may translate, but test your book in EPUB to ensure theywork properly. Rather than use the © (circled c for copyright), just use the word ‘copyright’,because some e-reading devices will turn it into a question mark. As a general practice, avoidsymbols (created by “INSERT: SYMBOL”) because they may turn into question marks. If youobserve what appear to be empty vertical rectangle boxes in your text, this is a form of corruption
  • caused by bad conversions from one word processor to another. Delete them, otherwise thesecharacters may turn into question marks.Step 17. Headers and Footers. These generally remain in the PDF and RTF versions butdisappear in the other versions. We recommend you remove headers and footers. Definitelyremove auto-page numbering because it can trigger a text-box error.Step 18. Margins and Indents. Try to format your book to adhere to Word’s standard marginsfor printing, otherwise your PDF and RTF files won’t print well or present well on screen.Authors often ask if they should format for American-style pages (8.5 X11 inch) or A4. About60% of Smashwords customers are American, so it’s really up to you.HOW TO FIX WACKY INDENTS: If your indents are pulled too far to the left or right, it willcause your text to flow off the page and become unreadable in some e-reading devices. To fix,do a CTRL+A on your entire document, then right mouse click on Paragraph, then set the Left:and Right: Indentation to 0”.Step 19: (Optional) Add the Heading Style to Your Chapter HeadingsWord offers various Heading styles, usually for use with the start of chapters or sections. Someof our ebook formats such as EPUB and MOBI will automatically insert a page break before each
  • Heading, which is a nice touch because it allows your chapter to start at the top of the page on thee-reading device.Are Styles for You? As mentioned in the heading for this step, the Heading Style is optional.One advantage of using a specially defined paragraph style is that it gives you more control overthe look of the text. For example, your Normal paragraph style might define 12pt Times NewRoman, but maybe you want your headings to be 14pt Helvetica Bold Italics andcentered. Although you could manually alter each Normal heading to reflect the formatting youwant, it’s time consuming, and also prone to error if you forget to implement everythingconsistently. By defining each heading the Heading style, you can automatically apply the styleto that heading, and then if you decide you want to change the style later, you can do it just onceand it’ll update all your headings.To implement, highlight your chapter headings and then select a heading style, such as Heading2. This can make ToC-building easier in step 20 below. If you want to modify your Heading tohave different characteristics, such as a different font size, or alignment, see Step 7 above whichtells you how to modify your paragraph styles.Be careful with the Heading style, though, because if you use it in the wrong place, the beneficialpage breaks I mentioned above will become an annoying formatting error that makes your bookdifficult to read. Only apply the Heading style to a single sentence, and NEVER across morethan two paragraph returns in a row, otherwise you’ll have one paragraph per page (Bad). Alsodon’t use the Heading style for body copy, or for your table of contents at the top of the book.Step 19a: Naming Your Chapters: If you name your chapters starting with the word“Chapter,” Meatgrinder will automatically detect the word and build useful navigation links intoyour EPUB file. Technically, it’s called an “NCX” file. NCX stands for Navigation Control filefor XML. See the screen shot below. The book is Raven Memory (a well-formatted book, by theway) from Smashwords author David G. Shrock, and the screen shot shows his book in AdobeDigital Editions, a popular and important e-reading app. At left, you can see the automaticallycreated table of contents (the NCX). I like to think of the NCX as a meta-ToC, since the file andthe navigation actually reside outside the book, but point back into it (What you know as anEPUB file is really a zipped combination of multiple files of which the .NCX is only one). MrShrock used the Normal paragraph style and centered it for his chapter heading. Although hedidn’t do it in this example, he could have easily named his chapter something like “Chapter 2:The Joys of Ebook Formatting,” and that string would have appeared in the NCX file as well.A well-formed NCX file adds useful navigation for your reader. In addition to the NCX, which isauto-generated by Meatgrinder, you should also consider building a linked Table of Contentsinside the book. See the next step below to understand if the linked ToC is right for you, and howit’s different from the .NCX.
  • Simply by preceding your Chapter headings with the Word “Chapter,” Smashwords will generate useful navigation for your EPUB fileStep 20. Creating a Hyperlinked Table of Contents. A Table of Contents (ToC) makes it easyfor your reader to see, at-a-glance, the major chapters and sections of your book. Unlike theautomatically generated NCX, described above, you will manually build your ToC inside yourmanuscript.Before you begin: 1. If you already have a ToC, make sure it doesn’t have page numberreferences. Page numbers are irrelevant to ebooks because the page count of your book willchange based on the size of the screen, the size of the font the reader selects, or even how thereader holds their ereading device (on the iPhone, for example, a book might be 200 pages inportrait mode [holding vertically] and 350 pages if they hold the phone horizontally in landscapemode). 2. Make sure you didn’t previously build your ToC using Word’s auto-ToC generationfeature, found in Word 2007 at References: Table of Contents. For your Smashwords ToC,you’ll use the Insert: Bookmark feature, and the Insert: Hyperlink feature.Do you need a linked Table of Contents? If you write non-fiction, odds are yes, you should doa linked Table of Contents, especially if your book is organized into named chapters or sections.By adding a linked ToC, you add value to your book by making your book more accessible toyour reader. Readers can easily click in their e-reading device to jump from one place to another(a powerful feature not available in print!). This is especially useful for non-fiction. Even somefiction can benefit from it, especially if you have named chapters or sections. However, if yourchapters are only labeled, “Chapter 1, Chapter 2, or 1, 2, 3” there’s little need for a ToC.If you follow the instructions below, your linked ToC will work in our most important formats ofEPUB, MOBI and PDF, but it will not work in our other formats such as the HTML or Javascriptreaders.
  • How to create a linked Table of Contents. My thanks to Smashwords author Cheryl AnneGardner for conducting the initial research which served as the foundation for this section. I haveaugmented her recommendations based on my own experience adding a ToC to the Style Guide(woo hoo!) and have updated it to address common issues I’ve observed from other Smashwordsauthors and publishers.First, create your table of contents where you want it by typing it out. This is usually at the startof your book, immediately following your title and copyright pages, and preceding the start ofyour prologue or first chapter. As you type out your ToC items, make sure your text is in theNormal paragraph style, just like the rest of your Smashwords document. DO NOT do your ToCin Heading style.Here’s what your ToC might look like:Table of ContentsChapter 1 – The BeginningChapter 2 – The MiddleChapter 3 – More in the MiddleChapter 4 – The Final ChapterEtc.You can left-justify it (as I did above) or center it using Word’s center button. Never indent yourToC more than one inch.Next, we are going to use Word’s Insert: Bookmark feature.Think of the bookmark as your target – it’s what you want to link to. It’s the destination for thereader after they click the link.Later, after you add each bookmark you’ll link to it from somewhere else, and in this case that“somewhere else” is most likely the Table of Contents listing at the top of your book. So, firstyou’ll tag the chapter headings in your body as Bookmarks, and next you’ll return to your ToCand add the links to the bookmarks.ADDING BOOKMARKS:If prior to starting your ToC linking adventure, you changed your chapter and section headings toone of the Heading paragraph styles, such as Heading 2, then these headings will probably appearas bookmarks when you go to select a target during the hyperlinking process. I’ve heard reportsthat you shouldn’t link to these Headings, yet in my experiments they seem to work just fine, so ifyou want to save time, link to the Headings and test it. Otherwise, read on to learn how to easilyadd your Bookmarks.In Word 2000, 2003 and 2007, the Bookmark function is under the Insert tab. Go through yourdocument, and at each Chapter Start or Indexed item, you will highlight the words and then selectInsert: Bookmark. Name your bookmark corresponding to the Chapter/Indexed item and thenclick add. It’s very important to use the first word of your heading you’re linking to, because
  • later on, when you add the hyperlinks to these bookmark targets, Word displays the bookmarkshortcuts in alphabetical order.Bookmarks cannot have spaces or odd characters. If you labeled your ToC “Table of Contents”as I did, then when you insert the bookmark, name the bookmark “TableofContents,” one word,or “toc.”With my bookmarks, I found I didn’t label them properly the first time through, so it was tough tolink to the correct bookmark. If you want to link to a chapter named How to Publish Ebooks, I’drecommend naming your bookmark something like “HowToPublishEbooks” to make it easy tolocate. If you instead name it, “ebooks,” you’ll frazzle your brain and make mistakes.Repeat the process above for every Chapter heading in your body as well as for other matter inthe book like index, bibliography, epilogue, prologue, etc. I didn’t link to every section in theStyle Guide, because otherwise the ToC would have been three pages long. This is your call.Next, return to your table of contents at the top of your book and highlight the phrase “Table ofContents.” Click Insert, Bookmark, and label this last bookmark something like “ToC”. Thiswill allow you to link all your Chapter headings in the body of your book back up to the top ofthe Table of Contents.LINKING TO BOOKMARKSNext, add the hyperlinks to your Chapter starts. In your table of contents, if Chapter 1 is calledChapter 1, then highlight Chapter 1 and then click insert Hyperlink. As you can see in the StyleGuide, I tried to use more descriptive labels. In Word’s Hyperlink menu on the left hand side,select “Place in this document.” You will now see your bookmarks listed in the main window.Select Chapter1 bookmark (or whatever you labeled it) and then click ok. Repeat this procedurefor every chapter or item in the table of contents that you want to have a clickable link.LINKING BODY PARTS BACK UP TO THE TOPNow you can link your chapter and section headings in your body back up to the table ofcontents. This makes it easy for the reader to jump back up to the top of book. From your ToC,click on the link to jump to your chapter or section heading. In Word 2000, you just click, but inlater versions you have to press on the CTRL key before you click.Move through your document to each indexed item or Chapter start and highlight it. Then clickInsert: Hyperlink, and then select “Place in this document.” When the bookmarks are showingin the main window, select the bookmark labeled “TableofContents,” assuming that’s what younamed your Table of Contents. Do this for each and every chapter and or indexed item.Note that you can link any part of your book to any bookmark. This makes it possible to linkbetween sections, or to manually create linked footnotes, endnotes or indexes.TESTING: WALKING THE WALK WITH YOUR TOCAfter you are finished, all your links will be underlined. Carefully test every single link in yourbook to make sure they’re operating properly. As I mentioned above, in some versions of Word
  • you can just click your mouse on the link, and in other versions you need to press the CTRL keyat the same time you click.Warning: After you create your bookmarks and link to them, if you edit the names of thebookmarks, or edit the linked text, you might damage the viability of your links. Even if the linkswork in your Word document, they may not work in the final ebook. If you discover this to bethe case after you publish, then you may need to remove all your intra-document hyperlinks andbookmarks and reapply them (I made this mistake while creating this new edition of the StyleGuide!).Reminder: Word has an automatic ToC generation feature under the reference tab that uses fieldcodes. Do not use this. It uses automated headings and formatting to generate the ToC and thiswill un-normalize your text and cause font conversion issues in your Smashwords files.Step 21. Front Matter (Important!!!)Front matter is stuff that goes on the first and second page of your book.21a. (Optional) BlurbsNote: Front-of-the-book blurbs (testimonials) are not required for inclusion in the SmashwordsPremium Catalog. In fact, there’s a potential downside to this step. If you add too muchtestimonial content to the front of your book, it can actually decrease readership because thereader doesn’t want to flip multiple pages to start reading. If you add blurbs, keep them brief.If you add blurbs, put them at the very front of the book, before the Title & Copyright page (seebelow). If your book has received rave reviews from readers, consider adding a couple shortsnippets on the first page, so readers who sample your book will feel more inclined to purchase it.These should be real, honest reviews. If you falsify the reviews and your reader feels tricked,they may seek retribution by giving you a bad review on Smashwords.Here’s how self-publishing guru Dan Poynter begins his Smashwords book, “Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual Volume 2” (view it athttps://www.smashwords.com/extreader/read/607/1/the-self-publishing-manual-volume-2): What Others are Saying about The Self-Publishing Manual“Poynter is at his best when discussing such specifics as starting one’s own publishing house;dealing with printers; establishing discount, credit, and return policies; promoting, advertising,and selling a book; and order fulfillment.” -- Publishers Weekly“As usual, our self-publishing guru, Dan Poynter, is on the cutting edge of the New BookPublishing Model. Volume II couldnt come at a better time...when we so desperately need it!” --Ellen Reid, www.bookshepherding.com
  • 21b. Title and Copyright Page (REQUIRED)Back to topOn the first page of your book (unless you add the blurbs above), insert a title and copyright page.This page will look best if you center it.This page is required to publish at Smashwords. The copyright portion should be in English,even if the rest of your book is written in another language (it’s okay to list it in the book’slanguage too).This page is where you identify yourself as the author and claim copyright ownership of yourbook (if you’re not the original author, or you’re not the exclusive publisher or distributor of thisbook, your book does not belong on Smashwords. Public domain books are not allowed unlessyou are the original author. Private Label Rights articles and other similarly scammy works arenot allowed).Tip: Your title/copyright page is the first impression you make on your reader. Make it lookprofessional. Center the title and copyright page using Word’s center command (the button is inyour toolbar), and do not use any indents on this page. Also make the text “Normal” paragraphstyle, and don’t use more than two different font sizes (looks ugly).A title/copyright page requires the following: Book Title Authorname Published by Firstname Lastname [or PublisherName] at Smashwords(or, alternatively, if you don’t want to use the “Published by...” line, add the words, Smashwords Edition on the next line. No need to do both.) Copyright 2010 Authorname(optional:)Discover other titles by [insert your author name] at Smashwords.com (or, link to your author page at Smashwords). (Optional: if you have multiple titles at Smashwords, write:) Discover other titles by Authorname at Smashwords.com: Title 1 - hyperlink * Title 2 - hyperlink Title 3 -hyperlink* Remember to make the hyperlinks “live” by highlighting the text you want to hyperlink, right- mouse click on the text, then follow the steps to insert the hyperlink. Remember, all webaddresses here must begin with http:// otherwise the address won’t be clickable. Make it easy for your readers to learn more about you.Do not write "Published by Amazon" or “Kindle Edition,” or “Ebook available in the AppleiBookstore;” otherwise it won’t qualify for the Premium Catalog.
  • As a courtesy to ebook retailers who promote and sell your Smashwords Premium Catalog titles,please restrict your hyperlinks to only your Smashwords author page and book pages, or yourpersonal home page or blog. Please do not add hyperlinks to online ebook retailers that maycompete with current or future Smashwords retail distribution partners. It’s not considerate, forexample, if to advertise your Kindle ebook in your ebook sold at Barnes & Noble. Suchadvertising will only alienate your retail partners, confuse your customers, and will cause aretailer to remove your book from their catalog.Don’t write, “Printed in the United States” because this is your Smashwords ebook, not your printedition.Avoid long copyright pages. Shorter is better because it allows the reader to start reading yourbook faster. It’s not necessary to place your ISBN inside your ebook. Consider it optional.Instead, you will attach your ISBN via your the Dashboard’s ISBN Manager at Smashwords.Here’s the world’s shortest Smashwords title/copyright page: Formatting is Fun Published by Mark Coker at Smashwords Copyright 2010 Mark CokerYour ebook is published by you (the author or publisher) at Smashwords. It should say eitherSmashwords Edition on the copyright page, or "Published by [Authorname] at Smashwords,"(remove the quote marks), or, if you’re a multi-author publisher, Published by [the name of thepublisher publishing it on Smashwords] at Smashwords. Although some Smashwords authorsconsider Smashwords their publisher, we consider you the publisher. Smashwords is your ebookpublishing and distribution platform. We’re your distributor, and we’re honored you’ve entrustedus to help you publish and distribute your ebook.Its okay to say, "This book is available in print at [insert retailer name]," though it’s better toavoid naming a particular retailer and instead write something like, “This book is available inprint at most online retailers.” Also note that once your book is listed on Smashwords, you canadd hyperlinks within your Smashwords book page to online outlets where the book can bepurchased in print, assuming you still employ that method of publishing.21c. Add a Smashwords License Statement to your Copyright PageAll Smashwords books are sold DRM-free, without copy protection or encryption. This meansyou’re trusting your customers not to pirate your books. In our experience, the vast majority ofcustomers are honest. Yet without proper education and reminders, a well-intentioned customermight feel inclined to share your book with someone else.To minimize this accidental piracy, we encourage Smashwords authors and publishers to add theSmashwords License Statement to their book. The Smashwords License Statement is an
  • original creation of Smashwords, and it has been widely adopted by thousands of ebook authorsand even some competitors. The Smashwords License Statement acts as a Trojan horse. Even ifyour book is accidentally copied or shared, the recipient of the book is gently reminded of theirlegal and ethical obligation to compensate you for it.To use it for your book, add the following text to the title page or copyright pages of books thatcarry a price: Smashwords Edition, License Notes(Note: if you copy and paste this into your manuscript, be sure to remove the paragraph returns that may appear at the end of each line)This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.If your book is free, then the license statement might change to something such as: Smashwords Edition, License NotesThank you for downloading this free ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. Thisbook may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to Smashwords.com to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.Step 22. The End of Your BookMost authors end their book with a period, and then give the reader nothing more. Don’tsquander this opportunity. If your reader makes it to the end of the book, reward them!First, add a ### centered on the next line to signify the end.Consider adding a personal message. Put yourself into the mind of the reader. They just finishedyour book. They loved it. They want to read more of your material. This is an opportunity toconnect with the reader. You have various options. How about adding: About the author: [Insert a short bio] Discover other titles by Authorname at Smashwords.com: Title 1 - hyperlink * Title 2 - hyperlink Title 3 -hyperlink
  • * Remember to make the hyperlinks “live” by highlighting the text you want to hyperlink, right- mouse click on the text, then insert the http:// hyperlink. Make it easy for your readers to learn more about you. Connect with Me Online: [add links to: Twitter: http://twitter.com/[insert your twitter address] Smashwords: http:// [link to your author page] My blog: http://POST FORMATTINGBack to topStep 23. Prepare Your Cover ImageEven though you’re creating a digital book, book covers are still important to your potentialreaders. Book covers are one of your best marketing tools (other than Smashwords, of course!).When you upload your manuscript, you’ll be asked to attach your book cover as an image file.An image file usually ends with the file extension .JPG.Book covers are required for the Smashwords Premium Catalog, which gives your book broaddistribution to major online retailers. The book cover standards require your cover to be shapedlike a book cover (a vertical [upright] rectangle, not a square) and should include your book titleand author name. Keep your cover image tasteful and avoid obscenity. 500 pixels wide by 800pixels tall is generally a good dimension. The image must be at least 600 pixels tall.Book covers cannot contain nudity, a price, or a web address (Apple, for example, will rejectyour book if they see a hyperlink on the book cover image). It must include the book title andauthor name, and the title and author name must match the title and author name inside your bookand in the metadata (Metadata is what you enter on the Publish page, such as the book title,author name, book description. Metadata = data about something else, and in this case the“something” else is your book). The cover cannot be grainy or pixelated. Pixelation occurs whenan author started with a small image and expanded the dimensions before they uploaded it toSmashwords.Make the text crisp and clear. Remember, your cover will be shrunk to the thumbnail size, so youwant all the cover elements to look good when it’s small. This means, if you make your title orauthor name to small on the cover, it’ll be invisible in the thumbnail.Your image must be in RGB color, not CYMK (at the risk of getting too technical, most imagefiles are RGB [stands for red, green, blue], which is what’s supported by computer monitors.CYMK is a format for printing ink on paper. Most image processing applications will give you
  • RGB automatically. If your image is in CYMK, it will be rejected by Smashwords [assuming wecatch it, and if we don’t catch it, the retailer will reject it]. Note that it is not easy to tell if yourimage is in RGB or CYMK. If your image opens in a Firefox browser, it’s RGB. If it doesn’t,then it’s probably CMYK. Your cover designer will understand.)One Smashwords author recommended a free application called Paint.net (www.paint.net) if youwant to create your own ebook cover.If you do not have the ability to make your own book cover, email me for a low cost reference. Idon’t earn a fee for the reference, and I can’t guarantee their work, though I will only suggestdesigners who have done good work for other Smashwords authors. Some will do covers for aslittle as $35.00, which I consider very reasonable.Step 24. Before You Publish, Review the Requirements for Premium DistributionDistribution is important. Think of it as virtual shelf space. To gain inclusion in the PremiumCatalog, read the Smashwords Distribution page at http://www.smashwords.com/distribution anddouble check you have satisfied all the requirements.Common Errors that will disqualify your book from the Premium Catalog: The issues below are in addition to the formatting requirements discussed in the Style Guide. 1. Book cover is missing, or doesn’t satisfy dimensional requirements (should be vertical rectangle, not a square, and not a sideways rectangle), or needs to be cropped, or is missing the title of the book and author name. Book cover should be at least 600 pixels tall. A good approximate dimension for a book cover is 500 pixels wide by 800 pixels tall. 2. Your author name in the metadata is lower case when it should be Initial Caps, such as: Jane Smith. If you list your name as jane smith in your metadata, we’ll reject it. To fix, go to Account: Edit Account Information at https://www.smashwords.com/account/edit 3. The book description or book title you enter on the Publish page is ALL CAPS. We strongly discourage ALL CAPS. 4. Poor paragraph construction. Don’t mix block paragraphs with first line indented paragraphs. Don’t use tabs or space bar spaces to create indents. 5. Read all the guidelines for Premium Catalog distribution at http://www.smashwords.com/ distributionStep 25. How to Upload Your Book!Once you’re convinced your book is properly formatted, click the “Publish” link from the mainmenu, anywhere on the site. Do not click this link if you want to upload a new version of a bookyou previously uploaded (instead, go to Dashboard: “Upload new version”).On the Publish page, you’ll fill out all the data associated with your book, and you’ll attach yourbook file and your cover file. Before you click the [publish] link at the bottom of the page, triplecheck that you filled out all the options above.
  • If you price your book at “Reader Sets the Price,” this option is available for customers whopurchase at Smashwords.com, but is not supported by our retailers. If you choose this option,your book price will default to $4.95 for retail distribution only though you can click toDashboard: Settings afterward and select a different default price for retail distribution only.Choose a price that ends in $.99, because Apple requires all prices to end in $.99 (although free isacceptable as well). If you provide a price that doesn’t end in $.99, Smashwords will raise yourprice to the nearest $.99 when we ship to Apple, and for Apple only. Therefore, if you give us aprice of $1.20, it’ll become $1.99 at Apple.After you click the [publish] button at the bottom of the Publish page, your browser will pause forseveral seconds as your file uploads to Smashwords. If you have a slow internet connection, itmay a pause for 60 seconds or longer. While it’s paused, do not click your browsers reloadbutton, because it could cause you to double-publish the book. Next, you should progress to theconversion page with a spinning wheel. You do not need to watch the spinning wheel.If you click the [publish] button and it bounces you back to the previous page, carefully read theerror messages before proceeding. If you’re having problems uploading, visit the SmashwordsSupport center at https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#Uploading for tips.Once your book is finished converting, it will immediately go live on the site and willautomatically be considered for Premium Catalog inclusion. You’ll also receive an emailconfirmation.Step 26: How AutoVetter WorksThe moment your upload completes, our AutoVetter feature will analyze your book andimmediately tell you if your formatting has any glaring errors that could prevent you fromgaining inclusion in the Premium Catalog. This will allow you to quickly fix the most commonproblems so you can fast track your book for the Premium Catalog.Just because AutoVetter flags a potential error doesn’t mean Smashwords is “rejecting” yourbook. You’d be surprised how often authors email me to complain that Smashwords keepsrejecting their book. AutoVetter analyzes your book for several potential problems, and itsanalysis is usually accurate.The AutoVetter error that tends to be erroneous most often is the “Printed In” error. If thosewords appear in the body of your book, and not in the title/copyright pages, then you can ignorethe Printed In error. However, if your copyright section says something like “Printed in theUnited States,” you should remove that phrase because this is your Smashwords ebook, not yourprint book.If AutoVetter flags your book with a possible copyright error, it will delay your inclusion into thePremium Catalog. It means you didn’t follow the instructions in Step 21b above. HINT:AutoVetter wants to see a proper copyright statement, plus at least one of the following phraseswithin your title or copyright page: Smashwords Edition or Published by [your name] at Smashwords
  • If AutoVetter is reporting errors related to tabs, space bar spaces, textboxes and tables, and youcannot locate the source of the error, be sure to check your headers and footers. These are allcritical errors that will prevent your inclusion in the catalog.How to Check Your Premium Catalog Status - To check your Premium Catalog status, visityour Dashboard and look under the “Premium Status” column. If it says “pending review,” itmeans you’re waiting for Smashwords to manually approve your book for the catalog. Theprocess can take up to a week, sometimes longer.If it says “modifications required,” click on the link to see what modifications are required.If it’s waiting for you to submit your book for consideration, click the link and resubmit yourbook.Each time you make a change to your book, the status will change to “Needs Submission” untilyou click the resubmit button. The resubmit button, which you’ll see after you make any changeother than price, is your way of telling our review team that your new changes are ready forreview. After you click the resubmit button, your status will change to “pending review.” Don’tworry, if your book was previously approved for the Premium Catalog, the previously approvedversion will continue to ship in the meantime.Once your book is approved for the Premium Catalog, it will ship to participating retailers in thenext shipment. We typically ship once every one or two weeks, although we will sometimes shipearlier or later. You can check shipment status by clicking on the Channel Manager link in yourDashboard. After your book ships, it may take anywhere from a couple days to several weeks foryour book to appear at retail. This is determined by the retailer, not Smashwords.Learn more about the Premium Catalog and its distribution outlets athttp://www.smashwords.com/distributionStep 27: After You Publish: Check Your WorkAfter your book appears on the site, check the formats for quality. The more formats you offer,the better your ability to serve your readers. If a certain format doesn’t do your book justice, youcan deactivate it (for example, if you publish a picture book for children, our .TXT and .PDBformats won’t show images, so you might want to deactivate them. If the images are nice-to-have but not need-to-have, then it’s probably okay to leave those formats in place because moreformats open you up to more readers). Remember that EPUB is your most important format, andit is a requirement for inclusion in the Premium Catalog. The MOBI format is required fordistribution to Amazon. Even if you already distribute to Amazon on your own, manySmashwords customers prefer to buy Kindle books at Smashwords.com so DON’T deactivateyour MOBI format.Usually a quick look at the HTML reader version will help you spot potential formattingproblems, because it acts like a canary in a coal mine. If things aren’t right, it’ll let you know!Don’t worry if page breaks aren’t where you expected them (this is normal and okay!). After youcorrect any problems, go to your Dashboard and then click Upload a New Version next to yourtitle. From there, you can re-upload your file.To check the quality of EPUB, you can download and install the free Adobe Digital Editionsreader software from Adobe. Once you install it, simply visit your book page and click on the
  • link to download your full EPUB. To check the MOBI format, which is used by the AmazonKindle, and you don’t have a Kindle, download the free Kindle for PC software or if you’re on aMac, Kindle for Mac. Once you have this installed, you can click on the MOBI version of yourbook and it’ll instantly open in this helpful Kindle app.CHECK FOR EPUBCHECK COMPLIANCE: If you want your book distributed to the AppleiBookstore, the EPUB file we generated for you must pass EPUBCHECK, which is an industrystandard compliance validation tool. We’ve built a lot of magic into Meatgrinder that allows usto automatically repair many EPUBCHECK problems without your intervention, but we can’t fixthem all.If your book doesn’t pass EPUBCHECK, it means there’s a problem with the source file youuploaded to Smashwords, and your book won’t ship to Apple. If your book has been in thePremium Catalog for multiple weeks, and you watch our Apple ship dates pass your book by,then this is most likely the cause.Here’s how to check: After you publish your book, and you’ve fixed any remaining AutoVettererrors, download your EPUB file to your computer’s desktop, and then upload the file to this freevalidation service: http://threepress.org/document/epub-validate. Click [browse] to locate yourfile on your desktop, then click [validate] to run the test. If your book passes, it’ll tell you.Congratulations! Go celebrate.If it fails, it’ll toss up (mostly) incomprehensible spaghetti language telling you why your bookfailed. Take a deep breath (Very important). Try to study and understand the messages, butdon’t pull out too much hair if it’s confusing, because it is SUPER-CONFUSING. Click over tothe official EPUBCHECK Error Reporting Page athttp://code.google.com/p/epubcheck/wiki/Errors to learn more about the errors. Take anotherdeep breath. No, you’re not stupid. The confusing errors are stupid. Welcome to the early daysof the ebook revolution. We’re confident these tools will continue to get better over time.If the tips below don’t help you, or you find they only drive your EPUB-addled brain to thebreaking point, one of the most effective ways to fix the problem is to reformat your book usingthe Nuclear Method, as described at https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq#nuclear,because the Nuclear method will clear out all the gunk you cannot see (it’ll also remove all yourformatting, so use it carefully). Or, contact me for a referral to a low cost formatter.Common Reasons for EPUBCHECK Failure: Missing the “http://” in Web Address - If your book contains improperly formed hyperlinks, it’ll fail EPUBCHECK. For example, if you right mouse click on a hyperlink, and you see the link points to www.website.com instead of http://www.website.com, it’ll fail. Missing the “mailto:” in front of an email address - If you’re linking to a live email address, the email address underneath the hyperlink (right mouse click then click Edit Hyperlink to see) should begin with “mailto:” so it looks like mailto:emailaddy@email.com where, of course, you’ll replace emailaddy@email.com with the actual email address. HTML and Styling errors – This is a catch-all for “that which we mere mortals cannot understand.” Microsoft Word often contains the remnants of old or hidden styling that you can’t see with the naked eye, especially if your book originated in a program other than Microsoft Word, or if your book was once in HTML form. Unless you’re a geek or
  • HTML expert, these errors, even after studying the EPUBCHECK error reporting, are very difficult to decipher and identify. If you can’t figure it out on your own, you may need to reformat your book from scratch by implementing the Nuclear Method, which will purge all the hidden corruption. The Nuclear Method will also purge all other formatting. Misidentified Image Files - If Word thinks your image is a Gif file when it’s really a JPEG, for example, this can cause an EPUBCHECK error. This is often fixable by deleting the image along with a couple paragraph returns above and below the image, and then re-import the image. Properties Error - If you examine the Properties in your Word file (In Word 2000 & 2003, go to File: Properties; in Word 2007 click on the round Office button at the upper left of the screen, then hover your mouse pointer over Prepare, then click Properties) and you see strange HTML characters in there, remove them. PlayOrder Error – If you see “playorder” in the spaghetti messages, try deleting your table of contents and retype it, following the step by step outlined in the ToC section above. Make sure you created your linked ToC using the bookmark method, and not Word’s ToC field codes.Step 28: How to Market Your BookAlthough we make it free and easy to publish and distribute your book, your book will not sellunless you get out there and sell it! It’s your responsibility to promote your book. Read my freecompanion guide, The Smashwords Book Marketing Guide athttp://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305 for a complete overview of how to useSmashwords to promote and sell your book.Send Feedback So I Can Improve This Guide!I hope this guide was useful to you. Please send me your comments and suggestions. Yourfeedback will help me improve this guide for other authors.Won’t you please take a moment to tell your friends about Smashwords?Mark CokerFounderSmashwords, Inc.first initial second initial at smashwords dot comFollow me on Twitter - Smashwords news, trends in ebook publishing:http://twitter.com/markcokerHelpful Resources: Smashwords Support Center - FAQs, troubleshooting
  • https://www.smashwords.com/about/supportfaq The Smashwords Blog - Smashwords news and other ebook trends: http://blog.smashwords.com Smashwords operational updates, bugs, fixes, miscellaneous: http://www.smashwords.com/about/beta Smashwords Book Marketing Guide - 25+ marketing tips, all free http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/305 How Smashwords Distributes Your Books http://www.smashwords.com/distribution Your Dashboard – Monitor Premium Catalog Status http://www.smashwords.com/dashboard ###Keyboard Shortcuts:If you take the time to learn some special keyboard shortcuts, you can dramatically reduce thetime it takes to format your book. Often the keyboard shortcut involves pressing the CTRL keyon the PC or the Command key on the Mac, followed by a ^ (called a caret) and a letter.HIGHLIGHT ALL: CTRL+A - This key combination highlights the entire book, making iteasy to apply a global change to the formatting. After you highlight everything by pressingCTRL+A, for example, a right mouse click anywhere, followed by a click on Paragraph, willallow you to globally modify your paragraphs, or your line spacing, or allow you to instantlyapply a special first line paragraph indent.COPY or CUT: CTRL+C or CTRL+X - Highlight any text string with your mouse (click andhold your mouse key, then drag your mouse to highlight), then click CTRL+C to copy it intomemory. After you copy something into memory, the original text stays where it is. If youCTRL+X, or cut it, it removes the text from the screen and places it in memory.PASTE: CTRL+V - This allows you paste text anywhere you want after you copy or cut it.
  • FIND AND REPLACE: CTRL+H - This is one of the most powerful features. Let’s say youused the Tab key to create first line indents in your original manuscript, and now you read in theStyle Guide that Tabs are about as welcome as the stomach flu. But what if your 100,000 wordnovel has 2,000 paragraphs? It would take you five hours to zap all those Tabs. With Search &Replace, you can zap ‘em all in about 5 seconds. Just press the CTRL key on your keyboard atthe same time you press the H key.In the Find what: field enter: ^tIn the Replace with: field, enter nothing, then click the Replace All button.If you used space bar spaces instead of indents, you can use a variation of the FIND ANDREPLACE tool as well. Activate show/hide, and take a look at the space bar spaces. Maybeyou’re using what looks like three, four or five space bar spaces. In fact, if you used space barspaces, you might find it varies. Again, if you had to manually remove these it would take hours.Find and replace does it in seconds. Follow these steps:1. In the Find what: field, enter a ^p followed by five taps on the space bar. ^P is the symbolfor a paragraph return. By entering ^p first, you’ll ensure you’re only zapping the space barspaces you’re using for first line indents.2. In the Replace with: field, enter ^p only.3. Repeat step 1, but this time search for ^p followed by four taps on the space bar. Then replacewith ^p and then click Replace All. Then repeat it all over again for ^p followed by three spaces,then two, and finally one.Remember, after you purge the bad first line indents that you originally created with a Tab orspace bar spaces, be sure to add either proper first line paragraph indents, or implement the blockparagraph method, described above.THE QQQ TRICK - Have you ever copied and pasted something into Word, only to discover itinserts paragraph returns in odd places? This commonly happens when you copy and paste textfrom an email into Word, or from a Web page into Word. If you have a lot of text facing thisproblem, try what I call the QQQ Trick. Do a CTRL+H, search for ^p^p and replace with QQQthen search for ^p and replace with nothing. Then search for QQQ and replace with ^p^p andvoila, you have reflowable text again. This trick has other uses with other variations. Essentially,you’re using a wildcard - QQQ - as a temporary placeholder for something. I chose QQQbecause the letters are unlikely to ever appear in natural language.
  • ### Back to topYou’ve reached the end of the Smashwords Style Guide. Thank you for reading. If you found this guide useful, please share it with a friend! About the author Mark Coker is the founder of Smashwords. He’s also the author of the Smashwords Book Marketing Guide, and Boob Tube, a novel he co-wrote with his wife Lesleyann. Connect to Mark Smashwords author page: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/mc Smashwords blog: http://blog.smashwords.com/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/markcoker Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/markcoker LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/markcoker
  • Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-coker